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What are loops in game design? – Loops – Game Design Theory Game Design by Gigity McD

What are loops in game design? - Loops - Game Design Theory

Learn how players come up with actions when they are playing your game so that you can design around this. People use a loop structure when they devise the actions that they want to complete in almost any situation. This loops structure is the way the use the information they already have in their head to devise an idea about how to interact with the surroundings. For a game these action are translated by the system of the platform you are playing on and the feedback is received from the game about the effect the actions had.

From the start of the video we discuss how clash of clans and the city building genre are great examples of games that have lots of different sized loops. With a play session potentially lasting a few seconds or a single action also potentially taking days to complete.

We then discuss the mental process of a learning loop that the player goes through in order to build up skills in the game. This loops consists of having a store of information called the mental model. Referring to that store of information the player’s brain decides on an action based on their current understanding of the environment or situation. The player then acts by taking this action. The action in the case of the game is received as input by the game and run through the game logic in the system which we generalize as rules. The game the hopefully returns an output back to the player in the form of feedback. The player receives this feedback and interprets what this means in the context of their action and stores this new thought back into their mental model. This process repeats throughout all actions in the game.

Then we take a look at a passage of play from a game called Recore. The passage of play is the player trying to work out how to get through a door that is only open for a short time. We discuss how the player is going through this loop during this progression of play.

We then link it back to Clash of Clans and use the idea that some sessions are short and some actions take days to illustrate how these loops occur and they are at different sizes.

Finally we talk abut how to use the loop structure to debug your players problems in your game. Does your game have a situation where the player isn’t recieving feedback for their action? Is this why they are confused? Is something random happening and the player doesn’t understand why? maybe you should allow the player to act on that first so they know the feedback is coming from somewhere. Is the player interpreting the initial feedback correctly or is it not being interpreted correctly leaving the player confused?

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3 replies
  1. Game Design by Gigity McD
    Game Design by Gigity McD says:

    SHARE THOSE BROKEN LOOPS!!!
    I remember the first time I got killed by a giant in Skyrim, I flew into the air and rag-dolled like crazy. I thought the game had kicked the bucket and laughed like hell. Wasn't until a mate informed me that the giants do that when they club you that I had a complete correct mental model. It was funny while it lasted.

    Reply

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